Pundits Predict: A tight affair for Stoke City vs Sunderland, More Nerves To Come

Sunderland really need to match Newcastle's result in the 3pm kick offs on Saturday. Points for both or either will ramp up the pressure on Norwich who take on Arsenal in the tea-time game. For those who like a flutter, you'll find Stoke and Sunderland about level on 13/8 to win or 23/10 for the draw, with a few bookies making Stoke slight favourites.

The Experts

Mark Lawrenson, BBC Sport : Stoke 1 v Sunderland 1

Paul Merson, Sky Sports: Stoke 1 v Sunderland 1

Simon Bird, The Mirror: Stoke 0 v Sunderland 1

The Telegraph, Stoke 2 v Sunderland 2

The Stats Sites

whoscored.com - Stoke 0 v Sunderland 1

predictz.com - Stoke 0 v Sunderland 0

windrawwin.com - Stoke 2 v Sunderland 0

The Situation
Unfortunately things are likely to get very tense from 3pm tomorrow so strap yourself in. All of the pundits above are predicting a Newcastle win, as is Sam Allardyce! They're also predicting a Norwich defeat and if those two things come true it may well result in a straight shoot out between Newcastle and Sunderland to avoid relegation. Whatever the outcome we still have a game in hand on Newcastle.

Newcastle take on Crystal Palace in Alan Pardew's homecoming in front of a St James Park crowd who, if anything, are more venomous towards him now than when he first left. With the relegation scrap intensifying and Rafa Benitez masterminding a mini revival, magpie thoughts are turning to who to blame for the mess King-Rafa has inherited. Pardew is firmly in their sites and will know about it tomorrow.

That said, 'Pards' will surely want to rub his FA Cup success into Geordie noses and gain some much needed momentum in the league in the games leading up to the final. With Palace not mathematically safe a win would ease the league-pressure in order for them to concentrate on the cup.

For Sunderland, who are only ahead of Norwich on goal difference and lead Newcastle by a point, it feels like a must-win. Sunderland must be full of confidence with a consistent set of recent performances and Sam Allardyce has a full squad to choose from. The worry is, that after an abysmal run, surely Stoke will improve and we can ill afford it happening tommorrow.

Ultimately, how we will feel come 4.45pm will very much rely on how we do in comparison to Newcastle.
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